The Sopranos Ends Without Even Fading to Black

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David Chase just was not up to doing justice to all the hype created by the talk of the series finale to The Sopranos. Possibly there was no ending which could have really been totally satisfactory. Some loose ends were tied up, including the war with Phil. We get an idea of how Tony’s organization will go on with the loss of some of the top lieutenants. There is closure of sorts to the story with Uncle Junior, and we see what A.J. and Meadow will be doing at least in the immediate future.

I feel David Chase was toying with us in the final minutes. So much was done to create a feeling of imminent dread, and then nothing. Literally nothing. We are left to imagine our own endings. The other patrons of the diner who were made to appear ominous may or may not have threatened or even killed Tony. Assuming he lives, Tony has a legal battle ahead which he may or may not win. There’s sure plenty of material left for a movie if that is the goal. It may also increase sales of the DVD assuming that the other two filmed endings are included in the hopes that one of them will be more satisfactory. It is not even known if the other potential endings provide a finale for the scene in the restaurant, showing whether Tony gets whacked, or if they show a totally different situation.

Ending the series by having life go on without a clean ending would have been fine. The problem is the manner in which this was done. Viewers shouldn’t have been left with the first reaction consisting of wondering if their cable went out. Fading out over a scene of a family dinner might not have created as much internet buzz tonight, but would have been a more conventional way in which to end. But then David Chase never wanted to be conventional.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Joe McNulty says:

    We are kidding ourselves trying to say the “The Sopranos” was superior to network TV because of its more liesurely pacing and characterization, like life where not all loose ends are tied up neatly. I have no problem with this, in theory. “The Sopranos” always demanded much of the audience: the insane length of time between “seasons,” which was chalked up to giving the writers time to think at a high level; the episodes (and whole seasons), where nothing much happened, which was chalked up to the need for full character development; the red herrings and feints, which were charked up to realistically reflecting the “messiness” of life; and the self-indulgent dream sequences, which were supposed to tell us something importnnt about the characters, I think. What I did not expect is using the FBI as a “deus ex machina” to allowing Tony to survive the mob war with Phil, who was then killed in front of his grandchildren, even though his daughter’s home was the first place anyone would look to find him. Was having him “fingered” by an FBI guy for some meaningless information regarding two Arabs really necessary? The FBI guy was taking sides in a mob war. Is he now an “ex officio” member of the DeMeo crime family? A more realistic ending would have had Tony and maybe his family (except Meadow, who is delayed by her parking problems) in the dinner. The show was always about Tony’s redemption — that he was really a good guy despite his doing terrible things. I think he crossed the line when he killed Christopher, his surrogate son and heir apparent, a helpless injured man and father. At that point, he became irredeemable. He is capable of anything. His reaction to murdering Christopher was totally without conscience. Why not have Rosalie Aprile betray him? She overheard him tell Carmella about the hideouts. Her boyfriend, Ralphie, was murdered (and dismembered!) by Tony. Her son was killed on Tony’s order in a way to make it look like drug dealers did it. She has to know or suspect. Or Paulie? He barely missed being murdered in Florida. What was his sin? A joke about Johnny Sac’s wife? Talking too much? Being a lonely old man — and a potential threat to Tony? He could have been the traitor. He was not hit, even though he is a captain, like Bobby and Silvio, both of whom were shot. He was guarding Tony in the safe house even though he was told to go home. He was reluctant to accept promotion because everyone who had headed the “crew” had undergone premature death. The show did not end as much as just stopped. It appears that the needs of commerce — movies or reunion shows, although Chase has given the impression that he was never stoop do anything so “cheesy” as a reunion show — take precedence. A better ending would have had Tony and perhaps A.J. and Carmella (since Phil’s girlfriend and her father, both “civilians,” had been killed) shot. The show would have ended with Phil doing business with Paulie (not quite a boss, but the head of a New Jersey crew with whom New York could do business). What a downer. This will leave a bad taste in the mouths of most “The Sopranos” fans.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    “We are kidding ourselves trying to say the “The Sopranos” was superior to network TV because …”

    The Sopranos was superior to network television, especially the first four seasons, but not simply for the reasons you list. The length of time between seasons was anoying, but that doesn’t affect the quality of the show itself.

    It’s not as if Tony’s use of the FBI was something out of left field. They’ve been setting this up for quite a while. I saw that as a definate possibility. When we got to the scene where Tony was waiting in the car for a meeting, I predicted that the meeting was with the FBI agent after everything which was done to set this up. It is more than just a matter of receiving a bit of information. There was a personal bond built up where the FBI agent didn’t want to see Tony get killed. He already demonstrated this in giving Tony the earlier warning.

    I obviously don’t condone Tony killing Christopher (or anyone else) but I don’t see that as crossing a line. I remember years ago that Tony warned Christopher that he’d do this if he didn’t go thru rehab and drop the drugs. As soon as I saw Christopher get Tony into an accident and admit he wouldn’t pass a drug test I was certain Tony would kill Christopher. This was consistent with Tony’s character and what occured previously.

    There were many possilble endings and people would have been unhappy with any of them. Instead Chase decided to displease virtually everyone–but increase the talk about the show.

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